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Just a vent

Posted by billl (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 27, 10 at 11:42

OK - I'm restoring a 1912 Colonial Revival in a historic district. I love the old house, but I'm rapidly starting to hate the previous owners!

Life threatening find of the week .....

The electrical was updated in the 1970's and again in the early 2000's. I've found a ton of abandoned wires in the walls and ceilings. Unfortunately, I found 2 live knob and tube wires that aren't connected to anything. They just chopped them off and left them hidden in the ceiling - LIVE!!! What where they thinking? I've gotten used to finding splices and buried junction boxes, but live wires just hanging out - not even capped. Even if you don't know anything about electrical, you should know that that is dangerous.

Anyway - anyone got any worse horror stories to make me feel a bit better about this house? Misery loves company.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Just a vent

"I've found a ton of abandoned wires in the walls and ceilings."

there is not NEC requirement to remove abandoned wiring, and in many cases it is nearly impossible without doing even more damage.

Rules have required cables to be fastened within a few inches of a JB.
To remove the cable would require opening up more of the wall to gain access to the staples holding the cable.

New cables can be fished and are not required to be fastened near JBs (for the obvious reason that it would require another hole in the wall).

A wire that is still live has not been abandoned.
It needs to be disconnected from power as step one to be abandoned.

Buried junction boxes are not uncommon in even newer houses.
A few get covered by accident, but plenty of folks finish a basement and do not even think about what is now behind the ceiling.

Just stay calm and take it all one problem at a time.

Every job will ALWAYS be more complicated after you get started.
It is just the nature of the beast.

RE: Just a vent

I know you can abandon wires behind finished surfaces. However, all the areas I have redone so far had 70's paneling on the walls and 70's tiles on the ceiling. It is apparent that the re-wiring and remodel was done at the same time. The new cables are pulled through holes in the joists and studs, so the walls and ceiling were open. There was no reason to abandon the old cables. They were just doing a half-@ss job and then walled it back up.

Oh well - I know this is going to be an ongoing project. I just am never going to understand why someone would do obviously dangerous things to a building they planned to live in. I understand people not caring about junction boxes etc, but who leaves a live wire in the ceiling just resting on some tiles for 40 years?

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